You can’t always take this piece of gear for granted –says Jeannie Deva
There’s a piece of equipment almost all singers use that I used to take for granted. That is, until I had a series of mishaps with it that challenged my performance and interrupted my swag.
Since that period of trials and tribulations, I began watching other singers – and discovered that I was not alone.
Mic Stand Technique?
Nowadays it’s pretty common knowledge: if you are a singer you’ll need to use a microphone. And there is such a thing as good and bad mic technique.
But what about the mic stand? I never knew there was anything to know about this slender metallic object upon which my mic perched, until…
Many years ago at one of my concerts, I walked out onto the stage. The audience was packed.
My plan was to begin singing with the mic on the stand so that my arms were free to gesture and later during a dramatic section of the song, to grab the mic off the stand and begin moving around the stage.
I approached stage center where my mic awaited me on the stand.
The mic was too low: I had done my sound check in sneakers and was now wearing high heels for the show!
Instead of being able to stand there dramatically poised awaiting my vocal entrance as the opening music played, I now needed to adjust the stand higher so I could sing into the mic without stooping.
I reached for the height adjustment device. The stagehand had screwed it so tight I couldn’t get it to budge!
There was the musical cue for me to start singing. I reached for the mic to dramatically grab it off the stand, but the mic clip had a death grip on it. The mic would not budge.
Additionally, the wire of the mic was wrapped around the length of the stand making any smooth separation impossible.
I realized that after sound check I had neglected to change the mic clip to my personal easy-on / easy-off clip and had also forgotten to unwind the mic cable from the mic stand.
More Mic Mishaps
Then there was the show where, while seated at the piano accompanying myself, a defective mic stand was impossible to lock into position. As I sang, the mic slowly but surely drifted downwards toward the keyboard.
Or the first time I paid a professional photographer to shoot my concert only to end up with one picture after the other showing me singing with mic in hand but upstaged by a gleaming mic stand which I had left standing right in front of my body.
After a few more mic stand calamities, I got smart and developed strategies to gain control over them to ensure they didn’t distract from my performances.
Perhaps now that I’ve brought it up, you’ll begin noticing things you can do to use and not be abused by your mic stands.
My Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vids
Kiloni Rose – “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys (Cover)
Hi Kiloni – I really like you singing this song. Your style is natural and focused; you have lovely presence on camera and when you looked at the camera I felt you were singing right to me. That’s exactly the way to use the camera – sing as though there’s a person on the other end of it. While I like the idea of you accompanying yourself on guitar, I found it distracting. I would have just wanted to listen to your beautiful voice. The guitar was a bit out of tune – and perhaps the strings are old? I would suggest that you save the use of your guitar until you can play the chords well and you’re able to do so without looking at your fingering so frequently. However, my compliments on your vocals and emerging style!
Tori Fuson – “Take Care” by Drake ft. Rihanna (Cover)
I love that you performed your song right TO the camera. YES! You really worked the song and made it feel like a personal communication that was at all times believable. Your strong clear voice and the word/vocal rhythms were quite good and helped to drive the song and its message. Your guitar accompaniment was just what it should be: an accompaniment. It supported your vocal all the way through and did not over shadow or distract your singing and performance in any way. Two thumbs up!
Dominica Frometa – “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder (Cover)
Dominica! You have a big voice and sang this song with the spirit in which I believe Stevie wrote it. I love the fun you had and shared with us as you performed it. You definitely brought a smile to my face throughout – and your little farewell wave at the end, very cute. To enhance your video performances, check the volume and sound levels before you upload it. The volume of you voice and music track was a bit more than your camera could tolerate so your voice was accompanied by a slight audio distortion/spiking sound which made a little unpleasant to listen to. I get the feeling you have more vocal potential than you tapped into. You stayed in what I would call your “safe” zone – which is lovely, don’t get me wrong. But I’d like to hear you find ways of making this song more your own. I think you have it in you.
Jeannie Deva is a celebrity voice and performance coach, recording studio vocal producer and originator of the world renowned Deva Method®, Complete Voice Technique for Stage and Studio™ now celebrating 37 years of helping singers achieve excellence. Endorsed by producers and engineers of Aerosmith, Bette Midler and many others, Jeannie teaches in her Los Angeles studios as well as… READ MORE.